View Full Version : How do you get your animals??

03-18-2012, 07:24 PM
I love to paint wildlife, however I do not like painting from images from the internet because then it is not an original work and what not. I do not get out to get my own photographs very often. Even if I did get out, I could not get very close to most animals. What do you people do?? Do you paint from imagination or what??

03-18-2012, 08:40 PM
I paint from internet images 'cause I'm just learning. My paintings never look much like the photo at this point anyway, sometimes I change tiger stripes because I think they look better, and if an ear is back, I make it forward in my painting. I also very often choose a different background entirely from whats in the photo for my animals because a lot of them are zoo shots.

03-18-2012, 09:57 PM
Hi Crackers,
Have you checked out the wonderful Reference Image Library(RIL) here on WetCanvas? The images posted by the members here are available for you to paint from, with a photo credit given whenever you post or exhibit the work.
here is the link-

03-19-2012, 01:21 AM
If it is something on the internet that I just have to draw, I ask permission. Other than that, I study a lot of pictures of the same subject, stick them all in my head, and work from memory in my head. I hope that helps:wave::wave:Nicki

03-19-2012, 02:02 AM
Ask permission from the photographers and use stock images from the RIL here or from other art sites.
I also take a lot of photo''s in the zoo.
BTW Jason Morgan sells wildlife photo dvd's. Maybe that''s an idea?

03-19-2012, 02:17 AM
Many photographers are only too pleased to give permission for painting, but make sure you keep a copy of this just in case of later issues. A trip to the zoo or sanctuary with your camera is another option. Gail

03-19-2012, 02:39 AM
I spend hours wandering around with my camera in the countryside, at the moment I'm after rabbits and hares. And boy is it an epic fail. :lol:

It all depends on what sort of wildlife pictures you after, if it stuff that is running around native to where you live, patience is a virtue. If not the zoo it is. :thumbsup:

03-19-2012, 05:15 AM
If you don't want to paint from other people's reference images, then the best way to get close to animals would be to visit zoos and various animal sanctuaries. There is always the option of taking photos outside, but it requires a lot of patience.

Jennifer Miller
03-19-2012, 12:46 PM
I work mostly from my own photos. Getting out and taking photos of animals, seeing them in person, and even better- sketching them in person- will only make your art better.
That said, I completely understand that we cannot all get out and photograph every species we might like to paint. I can't afford the travel to see some of the animals that I might want or need to paint (I'd love to.. but it's just not financially possible). In the cases where I cannot get my own photos, generally I:

+Look up videos of the animal if at all possible. This is much easier to do today with things like Youtube than ever before in history. I sketch the animal from the video to get a better feel for how it moves and behaves.

+Sometimes my friends have photos that they are generous enough to let me use to fill in my knowledge gaps from videos.

+If not, try the reference image library here on wet canvas.

+Another resource is flickr.com: Go to the advanced search options and search only creative commons images. Take special note to the requirements on the images; some only require attribution (credit the photographer), some require that you not use it for commercial use, etc.

+On flickr, if you find an image that is not 'creative commons' licensed in a way that you intend to use it, it's easy to write to the photographer to ask permission. I have made friends this way! Being polite and asking nicely goes a long, long way.

+There is also an entire section of the site DeviantArt dedicated to stock imagery. You can search there and most images have any useage rules listed right in the description: http://browse.deviantart.com/resources/stockart/

There are many resources available to artists today that allow us to use references without infringing upon photographer's copyrights. :)

03-19-2012, 04:26 PM
For the most part, I use my own photos. I love being outside & observing animals - that's why I'm a wildlife artist. I love the whole experience - from animal observation (very, very valuable to being a wildlife artist), to taking photos, all the way through to putting the finishing touches on a painting. I concentrate on photographing animals in my neck of the woods because that's what I have access to and am most familiar with.

Your headline doesn't say where you're from...here in the USA it's relatively easy to find either a zoo, wildlife refuge, or bird sanctuary to observe and photograph animals. Just remember that zoo behavior isn't indicative of wild behavior. Even in the midst of cities, though, finding wildlife (birds especially) isn't all that difficult. Even NYC has hawks and falcons nesting in Central Park!

I do use images from the RIL when I have a specific need that I don't have a reference for. I have used Flickr images a couple of times (again for a very specific need) and yes, I get permission from the photographer first. They are artists too and legally hold a copyright on their work. Unless they mark their photo as "Open License" or "Creative Commons", you really need to get permission. Ask a photographer what his/her pet peeve is and you're likely to hear that they intensely dislike folks using their photos without permission.

The other reason to paint from your our source material is that you're guaranteed to be expressing your own vision, not someone else's...